Call to help chil­dren speak up and stay safe

Pro­gramme re­lies on teams of ded­i­cated vol­un­teers

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Salina Pa­tel salina.pa­tel@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

CHIL­DREN’S char­ity NSPCC is look­ing for vol­un­teers to help steer its Speak Out. Stay Safe pro­gramme, which has al­ready reached more than 32,000 chil­dren across west Lon­don.

The school’s safe­guard­ing ser­vice uses spe­cially trained vol­un­teers to talk to young­sters of pri­mary school age about un­der­stand­ing abuse and ne­glect, with the help of mas­cot Buddy.

In a move to ex­pand its ser­vices to reach even more young peo­ple the char­ity needs to re­cruit more peo­ple and is ask­ing peo­ple who can at­tend a two-day train­ing work­shop, take part in an e-learn­ing train­ing mod­ule and make two school vis­its a month, to ap­ply.

So far in seven west Lon­don bor­oughs it has reached 10,600 pupils aged four to 11 in Eal­ing; 5,900 in Har­row; 4,300 in Hilling­don; 3,700 in Houn­slow; 2,900 in West­min­ster; 2,800 in Ham­mer­smith and Ful­ham and 1,800 in Kens­ing­ton and Chelsea.

The pro­gramme, for­merly known as Child­line Schools Ser­vices and launched in 2011, holds in­ter­ac­tive as­sem­blies for chil­dren fol­lowed by a one-hour class­room work­shop for Year 5 and 6 pupils.

It is a ser­vice pro­vided for free to schools and de­signed to help chil­dren un­der­stand and recog­nise signs of all forms of abuse; how to pro­tect them­selves and how to get help.

The pro­gramme was launched with the aim of help­ing chil­dren be­fore the abuse starts af­ter re­search showed a ma­jor­ity of call­ers were aged 11 and over and re­ported the abuse had started years be­fore they picked up the phone for help.

Gabriella Russo, who runs the pro­gramme in Eal­ing, said: “The pro­gramme re­lies on ded­i­cated vol­un­teers to de­liver the as­sem­blies and work­shops and we’re al­ways on the look­out for peo­ple who can help.

“If you be­lieve in the em­pow­er­ment and pro­tec­tion of all chil­dren and have the con­fi­dence to speak in front of a group of pri­mary school chil­dren, then this is your chance to equip a gen­er­a­tion of chil­dren with the knowl­edge and un­der­stand­ing they need to stay safe from abuse and ne­glect.”

Ear­lier this year, in May, NSPCC high­lighted con­cerns for chil­dren’s safety af­ter Of­sted re­vealed a quar­ter of sus­pected il­le­gal schools were found in Lon­don.

Ap­pli­ca­tions vol­un­teer role Au­gust 5.

To ap­ply nspcc.org.uk

To ar­range for the Speak Out. Stay Safe pro­gramme to visit your school, email Gabriella Russo, Eal­ing, Houn­slow, Hilling­don and Har­row area co­or­di­na­tor, at g ab r i e l l a . r u s s o @ NSP CC. for close

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